Dear First Vice-President Commissioner Frans Timmermans and Commissioner Věra Jourová,
We are writing to you in our capacity as Members of the European Parliament and as Chairs of the European Parliament Anti-Racism and Diversity Intergroup’s (ARDI) Islamophobia Working Group and the European Parliament Antisemitism Working Group (WGAS).
Anti-Semitism and Islamophobia are direct violation to the principles upon which the European Union was founded – democracy, human rights and the rule of law and they pose a grave threat to Europe’s future.
In the past couple of years anti-Semitic incidents have been rising, culminating in fatal terrorist attacks in several European Union countries, as well as increasing anti-Muslim hatred in the form of verbal and physical violence against Muslims.
Therefore, we welcome the European Commission’s commitment to fighting anti-Semitism and Islamophobia through the hosting of the first Annual Colloquium on Fundamental Rights and more recently the appointment of the Coordinators on Anti-Semitism and Anti-Muslim hatred. The two coordinators, in particular, have an important role to play in relaying the specific concerns of the respective communities as well as contributing to the development of the European Commission’s overarching strategy to combat hate crime, hate speech, intolerance and discrimination.
Moreover we believe that in addition to the new coordinators, the Commission also needs to push through more legislation and policies if we are to realise our aims of combatting rising anti-Semitism and Islamophobia. We believe that the following recommendations could assist the Commission in fighting anti-Semitism and Islamophobia:
• The adoption of the stalled European Union Equal Treatment Directive, which would prohibit discrimination on the grounds of religion or belief.
• The proposal by the European Commission and the adoption of an EU Framework for National Strategies to combat anti-Semitism on the one hand and Islamophobia on the other whereby Member States have to present to the European Commission their strategies for combating anti-Semitism and Islamophobia.
• Strengthening of EU and national legal basis to tackle all crimes of hate speech and crime and to ensure investigation and prosecution of racist crimes.
• Increased provision of financial resources to combating anti-Semitism and Islamophobia as well ensuring the inclusion of local government authorities as well as representatives and religious leaders of the communities and civil society in developing and implementing policies and projects.
We hope that the activities of ARDI and WGAS will help the Commission and we look forward to working closely with you.
Sajjad Karim MEP
Vice-President of ARDI
Juan Fernando Lopez Aguilar MEP
Chair of the European Parliament Anti-Semitism Working Group